The Collegian : the weekly newspaper of Behrend College. (Erie, PA) 1989-1993, December 05, 1991, Image 1

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    he Collegian
rsday, December 5, 1991
Vol. XL No. 13
Stuntz performs for second
time under direction of
Robert Shaw
b Mark Owens
The Collegian
Picture a choir director being
invited to perform at Carnegie
Hall with 119 of the most
talented choir instructors from
across the country. They will
give a rare performance of the
longest mass in music history,
led by one of the most respected
conductors of modern time.
Now picture that same choral
director stricken with a vocal
chord ailment only a month
before the scheduled performance
-- with the possibility that he
may not be able to sing at
Carnegie Hall.
A dramatic story, the stuff
Hollywood is made of? Perhaps.
But it also happens to be the very
true story of David Stuntz,
Behrend's choir and music
With some rest, doctor's
supervision and practice, Stuntz
should be singing at Carnegie
Hall on Jan. 19.
The Conductor:
Robert Shaw
"Ws an exciting opportunity
to work with one of the premier
conductors in the world. Every so
often Shaw agrees to conduct a
workshop that's geared for a
performance," Stuntz said. "This
is one of those rare times."
For the past few years
though, Shaw, who is now in his
mid-70's, has only accepted
professional choral instructors for
these workshop/performances.
"I think he's trying to
achieve a domino effect," said
Stuntz. "After we learn from
him, we'll pass tl ? knowledge•on
to others." •
Shaw, according to Stuntz,
is a detail-oriented conductor who
likes to make sure everyone
knows what to do.
"He sent out a detailed score
to us to make sure we knew what
he wanted," said Stuntz. "Detailed
means he wrote notes throughout
the score about how he wants
words phrased, notes began and
ended -- and he did this for every
single part."
Of course, none of this
surprised Stuntz.
"I sang for him years ago
while in graduate school in North
Carolina," he said. "At the time
Shaw was the symphony director
in Atlanta. He was just as
particular about Handel's
'Messiah' then as he is about
'Missa Solemns' now."
The Piece: Beethoven's
"Missa Solemns"
"This is, perhaps, one of the
most unusual masses ever
written," Stuntz said. "Beethoven
has included more in this piece
than was ever included before...
or since."
To get an idea of how long
'Missa Solemns' is, compare its
time to other famous masses.
The mass by Mozart runs 20
minutes, while Heiden's famous
mass clocks in at 40 minutes.
Beethoven, without adding any
words, made his mass last an
hour-and-a-half. "This is, without
a doubt, the longest mass ever
written," said Stuntz.
'Missa Solemns' is the last
piece written by Beethoven before
his death, along with the Ninth
"There is a great deal of
emotion connected with the
mass," said Stuntz. "Beethoven
was stone deaf while he was
writing both 'Missa Solemns'
and the Ninth Symphony. You
can tell there is a lot of emotion
in Beethoven as he wrote music
he was never be able to hear."
The Place:
Carnegie Hall
Stuntz has performed at
Carnegie Hall only once before,
with the Behrend Choir last
"I never thought that I'd get
the chance to perform there
again," said Stuntz, "but I guess
you should never say never."
In order to apply for the
Shaw workshop, Stuntz had to
fill out an application, send in a
resume, a list of references and a
audio cassettee of him singing
three pieces.
"I had to sing one movement
from Bach's B minor mass in
Latin; a movement from
Mendelson's 'Oranoma Elija' in
English; and a movement from
Brahms' Liebeslieder Waltzes in
(continued on page 3)